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Using electronic devices on planes: Where do you stand?

July 28, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • Virgin America passengers use onboard wireless Internet on a flight in 2009.
Virgin America passengers use onboard wireless Internet on a flight in… (Virgin America )

If you are itching to switch on your iPad or Kindle reader while your plane taxis for takeoff, you are going to have to wait at least a little longer.

A panel assembled by the Federal Aviation Administration to consider relaxing the rules on using portable electronic devices on airplanes has asked for more time to come up with its recommendations.

The panel -- made up of representatives from airlines, aircraft builders and electronics firms, as well as pilots, flight attendants and others -- was scheduled to produce a recommendation by Wednesday. Instead, it has asked to continue deliberations until Sept. 30.

If the panel is having trouble reaching a consensus, that wouldn't be surprising. The comments submitted to the group show that Americans are also split on the subject.

Rich Santoriello of Raleigh, N.C., commented in favor of easing the rules that prohibit using electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

“I would like to use my iPad during takeoff and landing while it is in airplane mode and not emitting any signals,” he wrote. “I'm sorry, I just do not see the harm in these devices especially with the sophisticated electronics we have in aircraft today.”

Albert Smith of Morris, Ill., agreed, writing: “They make me turn off my Kindle. It is a book reader. It does not transmit anything.”

Travelers who want to keep the current restrictions in place pointed to issues of safety and courtesy.

“Allowing portable electronic devices to be used on the plane will make passengers less likely to listen to safety instructions, and rather than helping out in case of an emergency there will be someone updating their Facebook status as 'losing cabin pressure,' ” wrote Molly Major of Minot, N.D.

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